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ReForest London Newsletter
Penn Kemp to Read at Celebration Forest event, May 29
Over one hundred people are expected to attend the opening of the Celebration Forest on Sunday, May 29 from 1-4pm. Approximately 300 trees will be planted in memory or celebration of loved ones at this event located behind Parkwood Hospital. (view map)
The Celebration Forest is a partnership with ReForest London, the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and St Josephs Health Care (SJHC) and other partners with interests in Westminster Ponds lands. The health care organizations have dedicated this land as part of their ongoing commitment to the health of southwestern Ontario's people and environment.
London's celebrated poet, and City of London Poet Laureate Penn Kemp will be a featured guest, reading her poem Commemorating in Celebration Forest. Mary Kerr will also be celebrated as ReForest London's Tree Hero for 2011. Penn Kemp's poem is below:
Commemorating in Celebration Forest
Here’s to trees that celebrate soul!
We celebrate their verve. Here’s
to tree as memory holder, tribute
to our beloved’s ongoing presence.
The Oak above Pond Mills hidden
on a hillside of younger upstarts.
The Beech behind Attawandaron
where October puffball might pop.
The Black Spruce and Tamarack
that whisk us to clearer northern
air as we walk through Sifton Bog
like winds that wind along each limb.
Trees we have known are trees we
can meet by species. Once connected,
always familiar, old friends to greet
on any city street or in deep woods
if we can slow down long enough to
salute the Tree of Life in each. Light
candelabra of Catalpa, Horse Chestnut,
Pine, Balsam Fir, Juniper or Cedar cone.
Sing a litany of names that belong here.
Alder, Balm of Gilead, Willow galore.
Glorious Maple, Butternut, sad slips of
Elm, even intrusive Buckthorn now.
Celebrate those graceful interlopers,
the Carolinians (Redbud, Tulip Tree,
magnificent Magnolia) sheltering here
at comfort’s edge in Snowbelt country.
Here’s to lacey Walnut, Honey Locust,
whose canopies carry us off to African
plains: Acacia giraffes might browse
or Le Douanier paint above his lion.
Sycamore is our memory tree, shedding
its bark like arbutus, its winter silhouette
a ghostly skeleton, reminiscent of that
other London’s Plane-shaded streets.
Mother trees surround us, the very
few left over from original forest we
long paved over, old rotten stumps
that settlers burnt to clear their land.
Trees know their season, their reason for
being. How each tree reaches out to be-
come World Tree. We have so much to
learn from not living on but with our place.
We who live in this Forest City must ensure
a name never replaces the reality of canopy.
Long may our trees flourish for we can only
prosper with our elder brothers, our mothers
down the long lineage of those gone before.
Penn Kemp, City of London Poet Laureate
Sunday, May 29, 2011, the United Nations designated Year of the Forest.